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Q&A with Nikki Garcia, Associate Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | January 15, 2019


By Hannah Milton (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Tell us about how you got your start in publishing. Was working in editorial always a goal of yours, or was it something of a happy accident? What was your first job in publishing like?

Once I decided on a career in publishing, I hit the pavement, and had an informational interview with anyone who would speak to me. I think I did twenty interviews over the course of a single summer. One informational interview led to my first job as an in-house floater at Hachette Book Group. It was very similar to an internship, in the sense that I was sent to any department that needed my help doing various jobs, but I was very lucky that it was a paid position with benefits. I got to know so many people within the company, but I knew editorial was where I wanted to be from the beginning, so I made sure to pay close attention during the weeks that I was assigned to an editorial department. This led to meeting my future manager, Alvina Ling, and the rest is history.

Can you describe your “typical” day as an Associate Editor at LBYR?

Unfortunately, a “typical” day does not involve me reading manuscripts from 9am to 5pm. I wish that were true! I spend most of my day managing the books that are already under contract for the current and future seasons. This means answering a ton of emails, going to meetings, routing materials, etc. The actual reading and editing happens on nights and weekends. If you’re reading an ECC questionnaire for the first time, I’m so sorry about dashing your hopes and dreams. If not, then you know the deal 🙂

How has your job changed as you’ve moved up from Editorial Assistant to Associate Editor?

I would say that the job description is pretty much the same between Editorial Assistant and Assistant Editor. You’re still assisting one or two more senior editors, but at the Assistant Editor level, you’re starting to meet more agents and see projects slowly come your way. Plus, you have a better idea of how this crazy business works! Once you get to the Associate Editor level, though, you’re hopefully not assisting as much. Agents have a better sense of who you are and what projects they should send to you. The Associate level is a very exciting time in an editor’s career—it’s when you have the time, confidence, and freedom to grow into the editor you want to be.

What is one of the projects you’re proudest to have worked on in your editing career?

I’m proud of them all! I mean, your books are like your children. You’re not supposed to have favorites, and I don’t! But I think I will always look back at my first acquisition with pride. It was the Lola Levine series by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez. I had only been an editorial assistant for a year when I acquired that project. It’s one of the first chapter books written and illustrated by two Latinas. Plus, the message is great! Lola Levine is a biracial bicultural character, and she teaches kids that they don’t have to fit in one box—they can be anything they want.

If you could give your younger publishing self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would give myself so much advice!

*Be prepared for the crazy amount of emails you will get. Answering and sorting them all will be another job entirely.

*You’ll have to do more public speaking than you thought.

*Figure out how to be organized from the beginning! It’s hard to dig yourself out of a hole once you’re in one.

*It’s never too early to start thinking about the kind of editor you want to be.

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